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 Post subject: What's Happened
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:11 pm
Posts: 29
Firstly, I think this is a super site with a lot of useful information. Secondly however, I am wondering what has happened to the whole 11 plus system.

My eldest daughter took the test two years ago ( and indeed passed with 141 score), by practising one a week and relying on the vocabulary that she had picked up through being an avid reader since a very young age.

My next child is about to take the test, and I am loathe to what I call "content tutor" as surely this is not fair. Has it really got to such a point that you have to try and predict, and teach the vocab / compound words etc that may appear? Am I disadvantaging my child by sticking to my principles once again and just teaching method not content? Is the pass mark now so high that to place a child on a level playing field that is what we have to do? I am utterly bamboozled by the whole thing !


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 Post subject: Re: What's Happened
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:43 am
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BlimeyG'vnor wrote:
Is the pass mark now so high that to place a child on a level playing field that is what we have to do?


As there are roughly the same number of children and grammar places as when your elder child did it, the pass mark can't have changed significantly. Maybe it's just the level of panic that's increased?


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 Post subject: Re: What's Happened
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8199
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Blimey G'vnor

BlimeyG'vnor wrote:
My eldest daughter took the test two years ago ( and indeed passed with 141 score), by practising one a week and relying on the vocabulary that she had picked up through being an avid reader since a very young age.

I'm glad you like the site, and you are most welcome. :D

You were perhaps lucky to have a first child who was such an avid reader, giving her the advantage of a strong vocabulary and probably good spelling ability to go with it.

Children come in all shapes and sizes! My younger son is similar to your eldest daughter - he reads avidly, has an excellent vocabulary and also passed the 11+ comfortably.

However, I was drawn to this site a few years back because my older son is not the same. He is potentially a very good scientist and an able mathematician. Reading? Spelling? Errrrm ...

The Bucks 11+ VR test was always going to be a problem for him, and it proved to be the case - he missed out by a couple of marks, and we lost our appeal. However, with some help from me and a little extra maturity, he was able to pass the 12+ and is now at a GS. He is doing extremely well in all the sciences and in maths, but English is still "not a great strength".

What has changed is that a website like this has allowed me to understand the conundrum of the 11+, and to help my son to be at the school he deserves to attend. (I should add that the school have no reservations about his ability either, in case you think I'm biased!)

What needs to change is the 11+ test - to a test that is a fairer test of the ability of all children.

Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:28 pm
Posts: 82
This thread is exactly why I love this forum soooo much.

Sally-Anne you are such a lovely wise old owl!!

Best wishes as always.

Nif229 :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:11 pm
Posts: 29
Thank-you Sally-Anne for your response. I am glad your son ended up at the school that was right for him.

I am agreement with you that it is time that a new system/test is devised, but I won't hold my breath!

Meanwhile, I will try and do a bit more with my daughter before October 1st arrives. Her end of year SATS were 5A Reading, 5B Writing, 5C Maths and 5B Science, so I know she is capable, however, verbal reasoning seems to not be her thing. We will do our best, and above all make sure that she comes out of it feeling good about herself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Thank you for your kind words Nif. Nice to see you on here, as always. :D

BG (forgive the abbreviation) - I think your daughter sounds as if she is exactly the sort of child who will benefit from some extra help before the tests. Bright enough to do well at a GS, but not necessarily able to leap across the fence in one bound.

Do read Patricia's DIY/Home tutoring Sticky on this section, if you haven't already, and read any threads that discuss how to work efficiently during the test - this is the most recent one:

http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?t=11168

Efficient technique could give her the few extra marks that make all the difference.

I don't really like to introduce this subject just before the tests, but I will mention that good Level 5s are the right starting point for an Appeal. You would need more evidence than that of course, but at least you have the foundations in place.

Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
nif229 wrote:
Sally-Anne you are such a lovely wise old owl!!


P.S. Nif - could we agree upon: "a wise not-quite-middle-aged-and-still-feeling-very-young-even-if-the-mirror-sometimes-lies owl? :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
Posts: 3310
Location: Warwickshire.
:lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:33 pm
Posts: 310
Location: Bucks
What's Happened?

Well, one thing that has changed is the advice for parents (see Sally-Anne's recent sticky) - though possibly everyone was ignoring this anyway.. 2 years ago it was "NFER research has shown that extra familiarisation or coaching makes only a slight (if any) difference to the final score".. bla bla, but now we're directed to the Nfer website which says (IMO) that gains are substantial. There are some more candid comments in the guide to Headteachers*, including:
Quote:
We are concerned when schools are reported to be undertaking extra familiarisation and practice exercises or coaching, and we continue to reiterate Circular 114-05 from 2005 which set out the Director of Children’s Services’ view that this is an unacceptable practice and might undermine the integrity of the 11+ tests in Buckinghamshire. We are, of course aware that coaching programmes exist but the benefits or otherwise of entering a child into a coaching programme is a judgement that only parents can make knowing the circumstances and disposition of their individual child.

To paraphrase: extra practice and coaching "might" undermine the integrity of our tests, so we'll leave parents to arrange (and pay) for it!

In the last couple of years VR has also been officially downgraded from:
Quote:
‘Verbal reasoning’ is used because research has shown that this is the best way to predict future performance.
to
Quote:
‘Verbal reasoning’ is used because research has shown that this is a reliable and, therefore, a good way to predict future performance.


*https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/schools/documents/admissions/heads_handbook_la_par_2010.pdf


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Pippi

I was waiting for you to pop up somewhere on Bucks to make that point, because I have recently read the new Admissions Brochure, as you mention. What took you so long? :lol:

Your point is not entirely relevant to this thread in terms of the original post, but in other ways it is entirely apposite. I can only agree with your comments because:

a) Additional familiarity (note: a carefully chosen word - not familiarisation, coaching, tuition, or the other usual words) with the types of question and how to solve them will benefit any child.

If you play chess regularly, you learn the tricks and traps of certain moves through repetitive practice. If you do cryptic crosswords from the same newspaper regularly, you begin to see patterns in the clues. If you play Scrabble regularly, you acquire a memory bank of 7 letter winners and 2 letter fillers.

b) Such additional familiarity is only available to those who can pay for it or can provide it themselves.

Ergo, the children whose parents have either sufficient money or sufficient education themselves to provide that familiarity are more likely to pass.

That leaves a lot of less well-off children out in the cold. :(

The question that we should be debating is: "What is the solution?"

BlimeyG, I think that this thread is about to go off at a tangent. If you are unhappy with that you can either start another thread, ask me to "split" the discussion or post merrily in the debate! The choice is yours. :D

Sally-Anne


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